It occurred to me then how conceptually similar the Shanghainese version of this dish:
(diced century eggs, soft tofu, and green onion, drizzled with sesame oil)
From a recipe at tastehongkong.com.
is to Insalata Caprese.
(sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, drizzled with olive oil)
Both require no prep other than slicing, assembly, and plating. Both are composed of four ingredients, plus some optional seasoning (salt in both cases, balsamic vinegar on the Caprese, soy sauce on the Century Egg; both of the latter are dark liquids). Both are thus very dependent on the quality of the ingredients used.
In conversation with digitalemur later, I mentioned how I thought the set of people who like both of these appetizers as much as I do was probably small: most people who like century eggs are culturally unused to cheese, and most people who like cheese are culturally unused to century eggs.
This is of course changing, but there really aren't that many people globally who ate both as children. Most of us are probably in the Chinese diaspora.
*At a restaurant which used to be one of our go-to Shanghainese places but which since appears to have swapped chefs and now highlights Sichuan cuisine.